With the best of natural intentions, I raised my baby on homemade apple sauce and pea purees. And he ate every last bite. Until he turned one.
For the past year, my toddler has been a self-proclaimed vegetarian, refusing all forms of meat, poultry, fish, and even eggs.Vegetables are tricky as well, as his once beloved carrots and tomatoes have gone the way of dog food. Even the sneakiest chef can’t do much when there’s no meatballs to hide the carrots in. Plus, all foods must be homogenous – anything that disrupts the color or texture of a slice of cheese is deemed “merpy” and thrown to the dog.
So I’ve been forced to rely on alternate means of nutrition to make sure he gets enough protein and iron. Peanut butter, hummus, and granola bars are diet staple – and even those sometimes get the cold shoulder.
Here are a few surefire healthy snacks that keep him happy and not completely malnourished.
These bars are a little chocolate-heavy, but if your kid’s got a sweet tooth at least he’ll get plenty of whole grains. These pack 4g of fiber and 4g of protein. Not all Kashi products are organic, but they don’t contain artificvial flavors or preservatives. And they certainly beat a Snickers bar. Sam gives them a 7.
OK, so it’s technically baby food. But you’re never too old for a smoothie! Since Sam refuses my homemade mashed sweet potatoes and butternut squash soup, I let him take it with a dose of fruit. Baby Gourmet organics are free of added salt, sugar, and fillers, making it one of the most natural prepackaged options available on the market. Sam devoured the squeezeboxes of Baby’s Sweet Potato Pie and Old Fashioned Apple Crisp, immediately asking for more. Sam gives them a 10.
Those cheesy/crunchy treats never did it for me – cheetos, fritos, doritos. Not my scene. But Sam takes after my husband with the salty stuff, so he’s a fan of the Happy Baby Happy Munchies. And that’s a good thing, because they’re organic and include just enough broccoli, kale, and carrots to give him some nutrients without freaking him out. Sam gives them a 9.
I am a huge tea drinker, finding it the perfect option to avoid even naturally sugary drinks. But it never occurred to me that caffeine free tea would be a good drink for kids! Thankfully, it did occur to an Atlanta mom who created the first all-natural, certified organic, ready-to-drink tea for kids made from caffeine-free tea and herbal blends, sweetened with fruits and vegetables. It contains less than one gram of sugar per ounce, making it the only beverage for children containing juice currently on the market that exceeds the target set by the recent Harvard School of Nutrition guidelines for healthy beverages. I was a little nervous that Sam wouldn’t dig it, but not only did he drink it up, he decided to get creative and dip some bread in it as an interesting snack. Whatever works! Now he continues to ask me for tea, which I like because it makes us seem very British. Sam gives it a 10.
Win your own boxes of Julia’s Tropical Tea and Zane’s Grape Tea by entering this giveaway from Little Me Tea! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this blog post telling us your kids’ favorite nutritious snack. Bonus entries for following Spit That Out on Facebook and Twitter. Just leave a separate comment for each entry. Contest closes 12/9 and a winner will be randomly selected.
Disclosure: Some of these companies gave me samples for review. Some didn’t. Regardless, my opinions are honest, as are Sam’s. See my full disclosure here.
12/9: Congratulations to winner Yona Williams